Alerts   |   Sri Lanka

CPJ condemns smoke bomb attack on weekly paper

New York, May 25, 2001 --- The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the recent smoke bomb attack on the Sinhala-language weekly newspaper Ravaya, and urges the government to issue a prompt and full report on the status of the police investigation that is now underway.

"Attacks against journalists in Sri Lanka are occurring with alarming regularity," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. "Without thorough and impartial investigations into such incidents, the message is that journalists can be targeted with impunity."

At around 1:30 p.m. on May 23, unidentified assailants threw a smoke bomb into Ravaya's office compound, located in Maharagama, a southern suburb of the capital city Colombo. No serious damage was caused.

The smoke bomb, a non-lethal weapon, was of a type commonly used by Sri Lankan security forces and is not available to the general public, police told the BBC.

Ravaya editor Victor Ivan, who has been an outspoken critic of the administration, told CPJ that he thinks the bomb attack was intended as a warning. "My feeling is that this is only a signal," he said. "This is a small thing, but journalists have also been killed in Sri Lanka—and nothing happens."

In October 2000, gunmen believed to be associated with a pro-government militia assassinated Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, a Jaffna-based journalist who worked for several news organizations, including the BBC. To date, the government has made no serious efforts to bring his killers to justice.

Ravaya editor Victor Ivan, who has been an outspoken critic of the administration, told CPJ that he thinks the bomb attack was intended as a warning. "My feeling is that this is only a signal," he said. "This is a small thing, but journalists have also been killed in Sri Lanka—and nothing happens."

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